The Ouya controller (left) and its console (right)
|Manufacturer||Ouya, Inc. (formerly BOXER8)|
|Release date||December 28, 2012 (Devs)
March 28, 2013 (Kickstarter)
June 25, 2013 (Retail)
|Introductory price||$99 USD
|Operating system||Android 4.1 Jelly Bean|
|System-on-chip used||Nvidia Tegra 3 (T33) SoC|
|CPU||1.7 GHz Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9|
|Memory||1 GiB DDR3 SDRAM|
|Storage||8 GB internal flash memory|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce ULP GPU|
|Input||USB 2.0 (one)
Micro USB (for connection to PC)
|Controller input||Wireless controller|
|Dimensions||75 mm (2.95 inch) cube|
The Ouya (// OO-yə), stylized OUYA, is a microconsole running its own version of the Android operating system, developed by Ouya Inc. Julie Uhrman founded the project in 2012. She brought in designer Yves Béhar to collaborate on the design of the project, and Muffi Al-Ghadiali as product manager to put together the engineering team. Development was funded via Kickstarter, raising $8.5 million and becoming the website's second-highest-earning project in its history.
Units started to ship to Kickstarter backers on March 28, 2013. The console was released to the general public on June 25, 2013, and features an exclusive Ouya store for applications and games designed specifically for the Ouya platform, of which the majority are casual games targeted at or used by a mass audience of casual gamers. Out of the box, Ouya supports media apps such as TwitchTV and XBMC media player. It runs a modified version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and is open to rooting without voiding the warranty (developer models ordered during the Kickstarter campaign for $699 or $1,337 come pre-rooted). The console's hardware design allows it to be easily opened up, requiring only a standard screwdriver for easy modding and possible hardware addons.
All systems can be used as development kits, allowing any Ouya owner to also be a developer, without the need for licensing fees. All games are required to have some kind of free-to-play aspect, whether that be completely free, has a free trial, or has purchasable upgrades, levels, or other in-game items. The Ouya is classified as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles and as such is a rival competing against the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U.
Ouya was announced on July 3, 2012 as a new home video game console, led by the CEO of Boxer8, Julie Uhrman. On July 10, Ouya started a campaign to gauge how many people were interested in the project. Boxer8 confirmed having a working prototype with in-progress software and user interface. Boxer8 is expected to provide their own Ouya store for apps and games. The prototype and initially planned console will run on Android 4.1. It features an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip and a price tag of $99 ($95 for 1000 "early birds" to the Kickstarter campaign).
The Kickstarter fundraising goal was raised within 8 hours. Funding continued to increase as more models were made available at various funding levels. According to Kickstarter, in reaching its goal, Ouya holds the record for best first day performance of any project hosted to date. Within the first 24 hours the project attracted one backer every 5.59 seconds. Ouya became the most quickly funded project on Kickstarter to reach one million dollars, and went on to become the eighth project in Kickstarter history to raise more than a million dollars. The Ouya Kickstarter page featured an introduction video, which explained various aspects of the console, showcased the process of designing of the 3" touchpad-sporting controller, and gave viewers a glimpse of the motherboard. It also presented the first looks of the console's game store, showing several games from indie developers who had supported and shown interest in Ouya.
On July 19, 2012, Robert Bowling, former Creative Strategist at Infinity Ward, announced in a blog post and through an update on the Ouya Kickstarter page that his newly formed studio Robotoki would be the first developer to commit to creating a game exclusively for the Ouya. The game will be an episodic prequel to Robotoki's Human Element, a post-zombie-apocalyptic game scheduled for release in 2015.
On August 9, 2012, the Kickstarter finished with $8,596,475 at 904% of their goal. This made the Ouya Kickstarter the second-highest earning in the website's history.
On October 31, 2012, Boxer8 announced that the first development run of Ouya PCBs, plastic prototype cases, and that they are in the Engineering Verification Testing phase of production. Devkits for the Ouya as well as the software development kit were planned for release before the end of 2012; on December 28, the console developers posted an unboxing video of one of the dev kits that were being shipped that day. Ouya units for Kickstarter funders started to ship on March 28, 2013.
On June 25, 2013, the Ouya was released to the public for $99.
On July 18, 2013, Ouya announced the "Free the Games Fund" to support developers making games exclusively for their system. Ouya will match a Kickstarter's pledge dollar-for-dollar if a minimum of $50,000 is raised, but only if the game will be an Ouya exclusive for six months.
On November 23, 2013, a limited edition white Ouya with double the storage of that to the original and new controller design was available for pre-order at $129.
As of January 1, 2014, the limited edition white Ouya went off sale and cannot be found on the official store, nor any official resellers.
On January 31, 2014, new black version of Ouya was released with double storage and new controller design.
Uhrman has indicated that a new iteration of Ouya console will be made available in 2014. Other than featuring improved controllers, no firm decisions on choice of hardware have been made.
The Ouya is a 75-millimetre (2.95-inch) cube designed to use with a TV as the display via an HDMI connection. It ships with a single wireless controller, but it can also support multiple controllers. Games are available via digital distribution, or can be side-loaded.
|Price:||US$99 or US$129|
|SoC:||Nvidia Tegra 3 T33-P-A3|
|CPU:||Quad-core 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore (ARMv7-A architecture)
NEON Advanced SIMD extensions and VFPv3 floating point unit
|GPU:||Nvidia GeForce ULP @ 520 MHz (12.48 GFLOPS)
Hardware 1080p MPEG-4 AVC/h.264 40 Mbit/s High-Profile, VC1-AP, and DivX 5/6 video decode
|Memory (RAM):||1 GiB DDR3-1600 SDRAM (shared for CPU and GPU)|
|USB ports:||1 USB 2.0, 1 microUSB|
|Video output:||HDMI 1.4; 1080p or 720p resolution. Stereoscopic 3D support.|
|Audio output:||HDMI (ARC), 2.0 channel|
|Internal storage:||8 or 16 GB eMMC flash memory|
|Networking and Wireless:||10/100 Ethernet (8P8C), 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth LE 4.0|
|Power consumption:||4.5 watt (gaming), 1 watt (standby)|
|Power source:||12 volt DC, 1.5 ampere max via Coaxial power connector (OD 5.50 mm, ID 2.10 mm, center positive)|
|Size:||75×75×82 mm (2.95×2.95×3.23 in)|
|Weight:||300 g (11 oz)|
|Operating system:||Android 4.1 (Jellybean) with custom Ouya launcher.|
- iFixit has a detailed step-by-step teardown of the console.
- Hardware video decode supported by experimental XBMC using libstagefright.
The Ouya controller is a typical gamepad with dual analogue sticks, a directional pad, 4 face buttons (labeled O, U, Y and A) and pairs of back bumpers and triggers. It also includes a single-touch touchpad in the center of the controller. The Ouya controller also has magnetically attached faceplates which enclose the 2 AA batteries, one on each side of the removable plates.
While initial reception of the Ouya was positive, raising $3.7 million on Kickstarter in the first two days, there were a number of vocal critics who were skeptical of the ability of the fledgling company to deliver a product at all. On July 12, 2012 PC Magazine's Sascha Segan ran an op-ed entitled "Why Kickstarter's Ouya Looks Like a Scam" which was critical not only of the Ouya, but of all Kickstarter-funded hardware projects. Unreality Magazine defended the Ouya, stating "A scam implies some sort of intentionally illegal deceit." ... "Tapping multiple investors from multiple sources isn’t a scam, it’s not even illegal, it’s business."
Engadget reviewed the Kickstarter pre-release version of the Ouya on April 3, 2013. While praising the low cost and ease of hacking the console, it reported issues with controller buttons becoming stuck beneath the controller plating and the right analog stick snagging on the plating. It also reported a slight lag between the controller and the console and went on to say the controller was "usable, but it's far from great."
The Verge reported similar issues with the controller and questioned its construction quality. While they praised the hacking and openness of the console, calling it "a device with lots of potential and few true limitations", the review was mostly negative and was critical of the interface and game launch choice and stated that "Ouya isn't a viable gaming platform, or a good console, or even a nice TV interface."
Engadget reviewed the retail version of the Ouya, and noted a largely improved experience as compared to what they found with their pre-release unit. Improvements to the gamepad were "huge", and they found "that the UI has been cleaned up and sped up". Engadget concluded that their "latest experience with the Android-based gaming device [left them] feeling optimistic" and that the company was "taking customer feedback seriously".
Digital Trends called the final retail console "a device with a lot of potential built with love", and called the design a "sleek and cool-looking cube filled with gamingy goodness". The mostly positive review cited a lot of potential for the future, but was tempered by noting deficiencies in performance ("as powerful as many current smartphones"), and pointing out that the Ouya won't be able to compete with the "big three" console markers on performance, but must rely on carving out a niche in the market.
ExtremeTech found that Ouya "has a number of serious faults". They mentioned the sub-par controller, the connectivity issues, games which worked flawlessly on smartphones but stuttered on the console. Also, they remarked that "there just aren’t enough worthwhile games to play".
Free the Games Fund
In July 2013, Ouya announced the "Free the Games Fund", a scheme to help fund developers, where Ouya would match any Kickstarter if a minimum target of $50,000 was reached, and provided the game remains Ouya exclusive for six months. Suspicions were raised concerning the first two games to reach the target. Commentators noticed the small number of backers each pledging a high value amount, the large number of those who had never backed a project before, as well as the use of duplicate names and avatars that included those of celebrities. This led some to suggest that the projects were artificially inflating their project's backing in order to receive extra money from Ouya. In addition, one project had a backer whose identity appeared to be taken from that of a missing persons case.
Nevertheless, Ouya rejected any suspicion regarding the backing of the projects, and planned to continue with providing funding. In September 2013, funding for one of the games that had been fully funded, Elementary, My Dear Holmes was suspended by Kickstarter. The developers of the other funded game, Gridiron Thunder, threatened litigation against a commenter on the Kickstarter page, and further dismissed concerns that they would have no rights to official NFL branding, a license currently held by Electronic Arts. In the same month, another project caused controversy by openly stating that a relative of one developer had provided substantial additional backing in order to have the project qualify for money from the Free the Games fund. The project was removed by Ouya from the Free the Games fund, resulting in the developers removing the project from Kickstarter.
Many developers criticized the fund's rules. Sophie Houlden removed her game, Rose and Time, from the Ouya marketplace. Matt Gilgenbach, who was trying to finance his game Neverending Nightmares with help from the fund, said, "It would kill me if due to other projects abusing the Free the Games Fund, people lost confidence in our project and what we are trying to do...While I believe in the idea of the Free the Games Fund, I think it definitely could use some reform in light of the potential avenues for abuse."  Eventually, Uhrman accepted this criticism. "Developers were telling us over and over, 'You’re being too idealistic, and you’re being too naive'...That was the part that personally took me a while to understand." Ouya changed the fund rules, including adding a dollar-per-backer limit. Houlden put her game back on the store, and Neverending Nightmares qualified for funding under the new rules.
On September 18, 2013, Ouya modified the exclusivity clause of the fund. Developers will still no longer be able to release their software on mobile devices, video game consoles, and set-top boxes during the 6-month exclusivity period, but they will be allowed to release on other personal computer systems, such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, during that time.
- Homebrew (video games)
- Independent video game development
- List of Ouya software
- List of OnLive video games
- Open source video game
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- "Fund your OUYA Game Development in 5 Steps (#FreetheGames)". Ouyaly.com. 2013-08-23. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
- "Wayback Machine;Official Ouya Store November 2013". Ouya, Inc. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
- Clark, Robert (January 31, 2014). "New Black Version of OUYA Out Now with Double Storage and New Controller Design". AndroidShock. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- "Ouya 2.0 releasing sometime in 2014, improved controller in the works". VG247. 2013-10-25. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "Ouya Teardown". ifixit.com.
- "4Gb B-die DDR3 SDRAM". Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "Setup Instructions for the OUYA ODK". Ouya. Retrieved 8 June 2013. "The OUYA console supports 720p or 1080p output only."
- "ouya system hotfix for abominable snowman". Ouya. Retrieved 17 December 2013. "we are looking into XBMC Audio Passthrough"
- "Kingston eMMC Datasheet (KE4CN3K6A)". Kingston Technology Corporation. Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "SMSC - LAN9500, LAN9500A - Hi-Speed USB 2.0 to 10/100 Ethernet Controllers". SMSC. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- Scott, Ned. "libstagefright - Experimental hardware video decoding builds". XBMC. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "The final OUYA retail console is ready, we go hands-on". engadget.com.
- "OUYA works with Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers wirelessly". pocket-lint.com.
- "Matt Thorson's TowerFall hits OUYA at launch, works with Xbox 360 controllers". http://indiegames.com.
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- Trackback URI (2012-07-19). "Ouya: Innovative Idea or Sleazy Scam?". Unrealitymag.com. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
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- Alan, Dabe (2013-09-18). "OUYA shuts down yet another Kickstarter debacle". Penny Arcade. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
- Hockenson, Lauren (2013-10-21). "Ouya CEO Uhrman: We were "too naive" about its Free The Games fund trouble". Gigaom. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
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- "OUYA "FREE THE GAMES FUND" OFFICIAL RULES, VERSION 2". FreeTheGamesFund.com. 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2013-09-19.
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